Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

Water fight in Watertown

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When most citizens address their city mayor, a certain protocol is followed. A meeting is set, respectful language should be used and their name is preceded by their title.

As longtime Watertown Mayor Mike Jennings walked down main street on Independence Day, he experienced something fun, but much different.

Someone along the street would shout, "Hey, Mike!" before throwing a water balloon and shooting a squirt-gun in his direction - and the mayor retaliated by spraying water back at them.

"This is small town America at its finest," Jennings said of the annual Stars, Stripes and Squirt-guns Fourth of July Parade.

Business owner and event coordinator Jim Amero agreed.

"Where else would you have so much fun?!" he asked rhetorically.

The wet-and-wild Fourth of July parade has become a signature event for the Watertown community. Now organized by the local chamber of commerce, Amero believes the parade started over 10 years ago.

Jennings said he has participated every year.

"People really look forward to it. I get calls from all over the county. It is unique, and you can participate instead of just watching and waving," he said, before making a joke. "They like to bomb the mayor. The squirt zone starts there, and it is open season when they get to me."

He remembered one year that Judge Barry Tatum froze water and dumped it on him. He wasn't the only elected official to participate. Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto and his wife, Paula, joined in the fun.

Mary Nix, 16, picked a spot on the corner of the square to see the parade. She brought a bucket of water and a $5 water squirter she bought at Target.

"The town is so small. You know everybody. It is fun because the mayor is in it, and it is fun seeing your friends and family in the parade," Nix said.

This year, the parade had 30 entries. The award for most representation went to the fire department. Joyce and Jimbo Robertson served as grand marshals.

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